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Wallacea, Indonesia Birding Trip Report

5 October – 17 November 2001

By Jon Hornbuckle

Sulawesi, Sangihe, Sumba, Komodo, West Timor & Flores

Species List

Diabolical Nightjar Eurostopodus diabolicus

Diabolical Nightjar Eurostopodus diabolicus

INTRODUCTION

The start of the bombing of Afghanistan was not the ideal time to visit Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, but Simon Colenutt, Barry Wright and I decided that as we were mainly going to predominantly Christian areas, risks of animosity should be low. In the event we experienced nothing but friendship and helpfulness, and apart from some problems travelling between islands, the six-week trip was a great success.

We birded 6 of the main islands of Wallacea excluding the Moluccas (still a no-go area due to serious religious warfare), namely Sulawesi, Sangihe, Sumba, Komodo, Flores and West Timor. Sulawesi was a return visit for me as I had pioneered a birding trip there, with two other friends, in 1987 before there was any gen or field-guide and consequently missed most of the tricky species. I saw 23 new species here and 7 on Sangihe, one of which we saw later on Sumba.

The Lesser Sundas were a logistical challenge but worthwhile and rewarding, with 60 ticks for me. I enjoyed all 4 islands we birded, although not the boat trips to and from Sumbawa, an island we did not bother to bird as all its specialities can be seen on the other islands. For the finest birding I would select West Timor, which I only visited after finding someone who had recently been and was confident it was safe, given that all the government websites were strongly recommending staying away – I was probably the first birder to go for more than a year, Barry and Simon having insufficient time and wanting to see Bali Starling (which I saw in its better days of 1987).

The publication in 1997 of Birding Indonesia  and the excellent field-guide has been a great boon to the birder in this exciting region. Wallacea should be a high priority destination, as the rampant destruction of forest, especially on Sulawesi, puts it on a par with the Philippines as being amongst the most threatened regions on Earth. Law and order have broken down in Indonesia now, as far as nature protection and conservation are concerned, so go while there is still some forest left.

HIGHLIGHTS

Raptors: Hundreds of accipiters on passage in October, mainly or exclusively soloensis, at Dumoga Bone and Sangihe.

Waders: 2 Javan/Kentish Plover at Sape, Sumbawa, 2 Red-capped Plover at Oesapa, West Timor, 2 Oriental Plover at Kadumbal Marsh, Sumba along with a flock of 120 Oriental Pratincole.

Pigeons: Sumba Green was the only endemic Treron seen.

Fruit-Doves: several Black-backed and Rose-crowned at a fruiting tree at Bipolo, West Timor, ditto Red-naped at Langgiluru NP, Sumba; Red-eared nesting on Ambang and at Anaso. One Sombre in flight at Anaso (SC only).

Parrots: Single Hanging-parrot on Flores and Sangihe. [All parrots scarce on West Timor.] Cockatoo common on Komodo but only 2 singles at Langgiluru N.P., Sumba.

Cuckoos: 1 Channel-billed on Sangihe, believed to be the first record.

Owls: Sumba Scops, Sangihe Scops, Sulawesi Scops and Tyto, and an unknown Strix calling in mountains of Sangihe; otherwise disappointing,with few calling, although Minahassa Masked heard at Tangkoko.

Nightjars: Diabolical/Heinrich's – three pairs found by BW roosting on rocks/ground Anaso track, one calling at campsite and one dazzled and caught above Dongi Dongi.

Kingfishers: All the forest endemics seen although only 1 Scaly, on Tangkoko mountain.

Hornbills: A few Sumba at Waikabubak road and Langgiluru NP.

Thrushes and Chats: All 3 endemic Zoothera seen but only single Timor Bushchat at Camplong and Oel Bubuk.

1 Geomalia at Anaso (SC only).

Flycatchers: Single Black-banded at Camplong, West Timor, undescribed Muscicapa at Dumoga Bone, 3 Matinan on Ambang, and 2 Cerulean Paradise-flycatcher (song taped) on Sangihe.

Others: Single Flores Monarch at Puarldo telecom. Maroon-backed Whistler at Anaso. Sangihe Shrike-thrush atop Mt Sahendaruman.

TRANSPORT

We flew from London to Manado via Singapore on Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Silk Air – excellent except for leg-room - returning from Bali. We used Garuda, Merpati and Bouraq for internal flights. Garuda were reliable but schedules have little meaning to the other two. Merpati's slogan, painted on the side of it's planes is "Get the feeling" – usually the feeling was we'd be lucky to get on the flight or take-off. We did book some internal flights in Sulawesi beforehand, using Nurlin "our man" on the spot, but had to redo everything when we got there (through no fault of Nurlin), so I would not bother in future. Tickets are easily bought at airline offices in major towns and vary greatly in price, eg Manado-Palu £59, Palu-Ujang Pandang £34, Labuan Bajo-Denpasar £83. The big problem is that nowadays there are not many flights between the islands except via Bali, so it is mostly necessary to go from one island to another via Denpasar – a costly and time-consuming business. Ferries are much cheaper but mostly run infrequently, if at all. We had to buy extra tickets when forced to change routings, and could not get refunds on unused tickets until we returned to Denpasar – fortunately, Merpati's office at the terminal there was amazingly efficient and quickly gave us the correct refunds.

There are a number of tour operators in Manado. Boy Samual, who runs Metropole Tours and Travel, metropol[at]mdo.mega.net.id (tel. 431 851333, 851444, 851555) was very helpful and reliable. He arranged most of our transport to and from Manado, in a minibus or car. You only really need a vehicle to get to the sites but it gives more flexibility to have one throughout, unless spending more than a day or two at Tangkoko which is so close to Manado. In Palu we used Nurlin Djuni nurlin1[at]yahoo.com who was equally helpful and reliable. Although not really a birder, he knew the sites and bought and cooked food for us. We belatedly learnt that others have used Roy (Royke Mananta) lorelindu[at]yahoo.com or sulawesi[at]hotmail.com, a nice young guy who is a good birder and knows some stake-outs, though he is more expensive. A vehicle is highly desirable at Lore Lindu - we had a 4x4, although not essential, without one you would have to walk up the Anaso track, possible but quite a flog.

FOOD and ACCOMMODATION

The standard of food and accommodation varied from good, especially on Bali and Sumba, to fairly basic and was mostly cheap. We camped on two occasions in adequate shelters built by the guides. It is not necessary to pre-book anything, although it might be worth contacting the two families who put us up where there was nowhere stay: -

Kati and Cornelis Hary at Pameti Karata, Lewa 07152, Sumba, just beyond Km 1 post in the opposite direction to Waingapu.

Desmon Reke at Jl Tim Tim, Km 45, Camplong, Kupang, NTT.

MISCELLANEOUS

We had no security or significant health problems. I did not take any malaria prophylactics, the risk being low. We were told that malaria is rife and deadly in the Tanjung area of Lombok. Leeches and mosquitoes were encountered occasionally but there were no serious incidents.

The weather was quite good, with a little rain on 2 or 3 days a week – rather more on Sangihe - until Nov 9 after which we did lose some time to heavy rain on 3 days; this being the start of the rainy season, it would probably have got worse had we stayed longer. Temperatures varied from hot in the lower regions to pleasant at Anaso.

A visa is not required beforehand. Internet facilities were readily available on Sulawesi and Bali but elsewhere only found on Sumbawa and Sumba (although I did not look in Kupang, West Timor).

US$ cash is the best currency, exchangeable in large towns, at c.10,000 to the dollar. ATMs are available in Manado, Palu, Bima and Denpasar but not on Sumba or Flores.

As English is not widely spoken, it would be helpful to learn some Indonesian (supposedly easy, though none of us managed any) unless you intend to use guides most of the time, which is certainly possible on Sulawesi.

REFERENCES

Coates, B. J. & Bishop, K. D. 1997. A guide to the birds of Wallacea. Dove Publications.

Jepson, P. & Ounsted, J. 1997 Birding Indonesia. Periplus Editions.

Articles: The birds of Gunung Ambang NR, N Sulawesi, Indonesia by J Riley and J Mole. Forktail 17 (2001): 57-66.

An undescribed Muscicapa flycatcher on Sulawesi, Indonesia by Ben King et al. Forktail 15 (1999): 104.

Birdwatching Areas: Sangihe and Talaud Islands, Indonesia by J. Wardill and J. Riley. OBC Bull. 29 (1999): 30-35.

Birdwatching Areas: Gunung Ambang NR, N Sulawesi, by J. Riley. OBC Bull. 32 (2000): 56-58.

A checklist of the birds of Lore Lindu NP by Fachry Nur Mallo and Buttu Piton Ma'dika 1999.

Trip reports:

Northern Sulawesi: 8/01 by Dave Sargeant

Sumba & Timor: 20/09-10/10/95 by Filip Verbelen

Sulawesi & Halmahera: 16/01-03/03/97 by Eddie Myers

Wallacea: 27/06/98-07/04/99 by Iwein Mauro

Sulawesi: 3-17/7/99 by Roger Ahlman

Sulawesi: 25/4–13/5/2000 by Ron Hoff

Sulawesi and Bali 3-22/10/ 2001 by Susan Myers

Flores & Komodo: Nov 99 by Tim Allwood

Also useful are tape cassettes of recordings by Steve Smith and Dave Gibbs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am very grateful for the help given me by the following: Phil Benstead, David Bishop, Nurlin Djuni, the two Freddys, Frank Lambert, Lim Kim Chuah, Pete Morris, Edward Pollard, Jon Riley, Boy Samual, Dave Sargeant and Kris Tindige. I could not have wished for better companions than Simon and Barry.

ITINERARY

October  
6 Manado, Sulawesi
7-10 Dumoga Bone National Park
11 Dumoga Bone, Gunung Ambang from Singsingon, Kotamobagu
12 Gunung Ambang from Bongkudai Baru, drive to Manado
13 Tangkoko NR
14 Tangkoko, to Manado at night
15 Ferry to Sangihe, Lilipan B
16-17 Mt Sahendaruman
18 Bemo to Talawig
19 Talawig to Tahuna
20 Ferry to Manado, Sulawesi, bemo to Tangkoko
21 Tangkoko, camping on the mountain
22 Tangkoko, to Manado p.m.
23 Fly to Palu, jeep to Kamarora, Lore Lindu NP
24 – 25 Anaso
26 Anaso, Lake Tambing, Kamarora
27 Anaso, Kamarora
28 Stuck in Palu due to cancelled flight
29 Fly to Denpasar, Bali via Ujang Pandang with quick trip to Bantimurung
30 Fly to Waingapu, Sumba. Mudflats and Waikabubak road p.m.
31 Yumbu, Kadumbal Marsh, Waingapu
November  
1-4 Langgiluru National Park, Lewa
5 Waingapu to Bima, Sumbawa by ferry
6 Bima to Komodo by boat
7 Komodo, boat to Labuan Bajo, Flores. Potawangka Road p.m.
8 Potawangka Road, Labuan Bajo
9 Bemo and bus to Ruteng, via Puarldo telkom station
10 Gunung Ranaka, Lake Ranamese, Ruteng
11 Bemo to Labuan Bajo, Potawangka Road
12 Bay cruise, fly to Denpasar, Bali
13 Fly to Kupang, West Timor, taxi to Camplong
14 Camplong and Bipolo
15 Bipolo, Oel Bubuk, Soe
16 Oel Bubuk, bus to Camplong
17 Camplong, bus to Kupang, Oesapa mudflats, fly to Denpasar and Singapore
18 Day birding in Singapore, fly to London overnight.

TOUR DIARY

Sulawesi: Oct 6–14

Arrived in Manado on time at 12.15 after good flights; met by Boy, sorted out flights and itinerary before checking into Victory Hotel, next to Green Garden Restaurant. Booked catamaran to Sangihe by phone. Next morning left at 05.45 for Dumoga Bone, picked up ranger Ohji and drove to Toraut, arriving at 10.00. Walked to small lake: Lesser Fish-Eagle and Finch-billed Mynas, then back for lunch. Waded across river and birded till dusk at 18.00: Maroon-chinned Fruit-Dove, Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail, Sulawesi Pygmy Kingfisher, Sulawesi Hornbill. At night called in Sulawesi Scops-Owl and the Tyto Sulawesi Owl flew overhead at 18.45.

Spent most of the following day on trails across the river, owling after dark: Lilac Kingfisher, Red-bellied Pitta, Pied Cuckoo-Shrike. On 9th drove to Maleo site at Tambun, with Susan Myers and companions, and soon saw 2 perched up. Walked up the ridge, seeing another Pygmy Kingfisher, Sulawesi Goshawk, Barred Honey-Buzzard perched nearby and a kettle of migrating Chinese Goshawks. In the afternoon looked for Sulawesi Ground-Dove across the river at Toraut, without success but did see both Hanging-Parrots.

An early start for Green-backed Kingfisher was unsuccessful but Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk, White-faced Cuckoo-Dove, Maroon-chinned Fruit-Dove, Pygmy Hanging-Parrot and, best of all, Ben King's Muscicapa sp. nov. were seen. An afternoon watch by the river for Black-billed Kingfisher failed, but Green-backed was taped in later. Ochre-bellied Hawk-Owl called occasionally after dark but only the Scops-Owl could be seen. A final two hours the following morning gave Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk and a Kingfisher, thought to be Blue-eared, before we left for Gunung Ambang. A snipe, Pintailed or Swinhoe's, was seen during a short stop at rice paddies, but no Spotted Harrier (which eluded us throughout).

After checking in at Hotel Wijaya in Kotamobagu and a quick nasi goreng (fried rice), we drove to Sinsingen – the recommended starting point for Gunung Ambang. We climbed from 1050m to 1400m and back, avoiding the many hardwood planks being dragged down by bullocks, accompanied by the constant noise of chain-saws, and seeing canopy nets and snares set for animals and birds – what a disaster area! The few surviving birds included White-bellied Imperial-Pigeon, Yellow-bellied Whistler, Streak-headed White-eye, Chestnut-backed Bush-Warbler and Rusty-flanked Fantail, but no roosting Speckled Hawk-Owl (as seen by Dave Sargeant a few weeks earlier, but claimed to be Cinnabar Owl by guide Ohji). Next morning saw us drive to Bongkudai Baru (04.45-5.30) on the other side of the mountain, to try for Matinan Flycatcher, as seen by DS. After 30 min. walk through farmland, we reached forest and took the right hand path but saw little. Returning to the fork, BW and Ohji spotted a singing Matinan Flycatcher perched within a bush, and a Ground-Dove was flushed. Then took a steep track which eventually reached undisturbed forest at 1500-1600m where we spent the rest of the afternoon - good birding: Red-eared and Superb Fruit-Doves, Sul Ground-Dove and Pygmy Woodpecker, Cerulean Cuckoo-Shrike, Malia, Olive-flanked Whistler, Sul Myzomela, Dark-eared Honeyeater and Black-fronted White-eye. After paying off Ohje, drove back to Manado 19.15-22.30.

An early start with Boy saw us at Tangkoko by 06.30. Taken into the NP by both senior rangers, as first choice Freddy was not available, but saw little except White-rumped Cuckoo-Shrike and Oriental Cuckoo. In afternoon, Freddy did accompany us till dark: White Imperial-Pigeon, Lilac and Green-backed Kingfishers, Sul Nightjar, and Minahassa Owl heard (seen by Freddy previous evening). Good food at Mama Roos. Another early start, with Freddy, but no owls, then BW and SC left for boat trip to Lende Island while I continued with Freddy: Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk, Sul Hawk-Eagle, Red-backed Thrush, Red-bellied Pitta, and photo'd Knobbed Hornbill feeding at nest-hole. At lunch B and S described their memorable experience: Black-billed Kingfisher, terns, boobies, and a multitude of fish including jumping tuna. A late afternoon vigil for Spectral Tarsier was rewarded by close studies of this engaging tiny primate, followed by a 2 hour drive back to Manado for the next leg of the trip – the expedition to Sangihe.

Oct 20-28

Boy met us at the ferry from Sangihe but as his driver was ill, we took a taxi to Tangkoko – a slow journey due to heavy Sunday night traffic – arriving at 20.15. Watched a Bryan Adams video at Mama Roos while eating a good meal but had to stay at the Rangers' Homestead next door as Roos was full. Visited Freddy at his house – he agreed to take us up the mountain to camp, and to buy the necessary food. After early breakfast at Roos, we had an easy 2 hour walk to the camp-site at 550m, with White-rumped Cuckoo-shrike en route. Then continued by ourselves almost to the top, leaving Freddy and the porter to build the shelter: 3 Lilac Kingfishers but no Scaly (the main objective of the trip) – Freddy saw one just below the camp! After lunch I went back up the hill with Freddy and at 16.30 we located a Scaly Kingfisher at 900m. I sent Freddy down to tell the others but the bird flew. 4 Green-backed Kingfishers, a Lilac and possibly a Scaly, called at dusk but only the Lilac was seen. A Ninox called every 15 mins or so but would not show.

A walk to the top (1100m) and back the following morning was disappointing for kingfishers, and only Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher was new – along a short trail just below the top. Walked down to the Homestead 10.25-13.00, stopping for Red-backed Thrush, and good views of Sulawesi Hornbill and Purple-winged Roller. Taxi back to Manado where we attempted to sort out flights – Bouraq, Merpati and Silk Air were shut (at 16.00) but Garuda still open and helpful. Next morning we flew to Palu with a stop at Luwuk, where there was a pratincole on the runway. Met by Nurlin: to PHPA office for Lore Lindu permits, then Merpati where flights to Flores and Sumba, via Denpasar, were booked. Finally left at 14.30, after nasi goreng, for the 2 hour drive to Kamarora where heavy rain prevented any worthwhile birding.

An early walk on the Waterfall Trail was birdy, with nothing exceptional, but we did have good views of Isabelline Bush-hen at the resthouse. After breakfast of pancakes and cold chips (!) we drove to the Anaso track, with a warning from Nurlin of no stopping at Dongi-Dongi for fear of hostile settlers.

We spent most of the next 4 days around Anaso - though only camped 2 nights there, returning to sleep at Kamarora the other 2 (and look for rails and Rufous-throated Flycatcher, without success) – in an attempt to see all the specialities. Highlights were stellar views of 2 Diabolical Nightjars roosting together, Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Great Shortwing, Maroon-backed Whistler and Malia; but only SC had Sombre Pigeon and Geomalia, and no-one Small Sparrowhawk, Sul Woodcock or rails. Other good birds were Purple Needletail, Pygmy Cuckoo-shrike, Sulawesi Thrush and Blue-fronted Flycatcher. We spent most time within a km or so either side of the campsite (1900m), taking a few rattan-cutters' trails into the forest, though the understorey was badly trashed. We climbed up into the beautiful moss forest at the pass beyond the second clearing – I didn't see much as I left earlier to concentrate on raptor-watching for Small Sparrowhawk, while Barry and Simon had Red-eared Fruit-Dove and Yellow-flanked Whistler.

One afternoon we walked down the main road from 1400-1200m and saw Sulawesi Blue-Flycatcher and Piping Crow, then waited for the Woodcock to rode at dusk – no sign of it but a Diabolical Nightjar hawked from roadside posts and was eventually dazzled and caught by hand, possibly only the second ever handled as only one specimen has ever been taken! We returned there at 04.30 but only Sul Hawk-Cuckoo was heard (but not seen). Later on we had a good under-storey flock inside the forest halfway up to the campsite, with Malia (behaving like foliage-gleaners), Sulawesi Thrush, Rusty-flanked Fantail and a strong suspicion that Geomalia had been present. The final afternoon at Kamarora was disappointing and owling useless. Next morning we picked up Pale-headed Munia on the way back to Palu, but the salt pans (to the N of town, opposite a garage) held little. We boarded the Bouraq flight to Makassar, but had to dismount due to engine problems which caused the flight to be cancelled, after a long wait. Then spent hours trying to get on the overbooked Merpati flight, which had been cancelled when we tried to book it 5 days earlier! Failed, so could not make Denpasar as booked and had to overnight in Palu, then rebook all other flights as we had missed our flight from Denpasar to Flores. We finally left on an extra Bouraq flight, an hour late, and had a bit of time to spare at Makassar so took a taxi to Bantimurung to look for Black-ringed White-eye, which we failed to see in the 75 mins available. The Garuda flight to Denpasar was on time and we were able to return to civilisation again, albeit rather touristy, based at the plush Adhi Jaya Hotel ($35 for a 3 bed a/c room, with outside swimming pool).

Sangihe: Oct 15-20

08.00-15.00 catamaran Manado-Sangihe, with one stop at Siau – too fast for decent birding. Bemo to Tahuna then hired an ancient minibus for an hour's very windy journey to Tamako where we had to employ motorbikes to reach the Rainbow losmen (homestay) run by Frets at Lilipan B. Fret's brother Wesley agreed to guide us up the mountain, and showed us a Sangihe Hanging-Parrot in a nearby tree, which turned out to be the only one we saw. A Grey-faced Buzzard circled overhead.

Left at 04.00 (130m a.s.l.), reaching camp-site at 05.30 (530m). Descended to river on steep, slippery trail, then scrambled up valley, seeing Elegant Imperial-Pigeon, to 500m to wait for the Paradise-Fly. At 07.15 I taped a raptor-like call and play-back attracted a Cerulean Paradise-Flycatcher! It was soon joined by another and we were able to watch a pair of one of the rarest birds on the planet feeding and singing!

Returning to the camp, we walked up to the ridge (830m) and spent the rest of the day on the trail there. At 11.30 quiet calls of the Shrike-Thrush were heard and 2 were seen a few brief times, mainly on mossy growth on the bigger trees. There were no further sightings and we could not find the rare endemic race of Golden Bulbul. Late in the day large numbers of Moluccan Swiftlets, White-throated Needletails and migrating Chinese Goshawks flew over the ridge. At night, could just hear over the cacophony of cicadas, a Ninox sp. calling every minute or so –"bup, bup, bup, bup" - for some time, continuing intermittently during the night, but way down in the valley. Expecting it to be a Sulawesi species, I chose not to risk a broken limb to get down to it, a decision later regretted as the call was nothing like the possible known species. Surprisingly, there were no Otus calls.

The following morning, made a slow return to the ridge to try for Golden Bulbul, without success. A large kettle of Chinese Gos gained height at 07.20 before peeling off to the south. Returned to camp, then down the trail, reaching Rainbow losmen as the heavens opened. SC continued to Tahuna to ring the ferry company to see if we could leave early (to go back to Ambang) but the next ferry was full, so we stayed put and tried for the Otus but never even heard it.

Early bus to catamaran terminal but were told there was no chance of getting on so continued along the coast road to Talawid, to look for parrots. We soon found Ali, thanks to Wesley, who took us up the hill in the rain to the edge of forest at 430m: Japanese Sparrowhawk, Elegant Imp-pigeon, Grey-spotted Flycatcher. After a siesta at Ali's house, we went back up to a forest watch-point - Pied Imp-pigeon and Channel-billed Cuckoo – then to a Great-billed Parrot roost site where the few noisy parrots were difficult to see. Disappointed to learn that the spectacular Red-and-blue Lory was considered extinct on Sangihe, though still reasonably common on Talaud. We waited for Sangihe Scops-Owl to call, only hearing Lilac Kinfisher and Red-bellied Pitta, but eventually 3 or 4 responded and one was spot-lit at 18.30. Night at Ali's house, with food cooked by his wife. After heavy rain in the night we decided to return to Tahuna to chill out. Visited Action Sampiri, then mudflats – Grey-tailed Tattler – and in afternoon I caught a bus up to the ridge and walked back down but saw nothing new. Following morning the ferry was not full and we saw a few seabirds, including a Bulwer's Petrel for SC, before reaching Manado at 15.45.

Sumba: Oct 30-Nov 5

Arrived at Waingapu from Denpasar on time at 11.00 and checked in at the Merlin Hotel – good except for noisy a/c. After reconfirming flights and checking ferry possibilities (none), I spent an hour on the mudflats, which were promising for waders. Took a late afternoon trip with volunteer guide Freddy to Waikabubak road: Sumba Hornbill, Great-billed Parrot, Blood-red Flowerpecker and Apricot-breasted Sunbird. Fish and chips for supper, then talked to BirdLife staff working on Sumba.

05.50-06.15 drive to the scrappy dry grassland at Yumbu: a few Sumba Buttonquail and Brown Quail, numerous Bushlarks, Red Avadavat , Zebra Finch and Five-coloured Munia, with White-shouldered Triller, Ashy-bellied White-eye and Brown Honeyeater in the mangroves. Continued to Kadumbul Marsh, where the many waterbirds included 120 Oriental Pratincole and 1+ Australian, and 2 Oriental Plover – an unexpected bonus. A further 45 mins saw us at the traditional village of Rende where we purchased some fine Ikat wall hangings. After lunch back at the hotel, we booked the ferry to Bima, Sumbawa and flight from Bima to Flores, then checked the mudflats, before returning to Wanga Forest, near Yumbu – Freddy's stake-out for Sumba Boobook – but only saw Barn Owl, Savanna Nightjar and a million mosquitoes.

The next morning was spent at Langgiluru NP (600m), after a 90 min drive: Sumba Brown Flycatcher, Russet-backed/ Flores Jungle-Flycatcher and Yellow-spectacled White-eye but could not see the calling Elegant Pittas. After lunch in the village below the forest, Freddy located a nice homestead in Lewa where we could stay, then we returned to the forest till dark: Sumba Flycatcher, Wallacean Drongo, Wallacean Cuckoo-shrike and Chestnut-backed Thrush – a fine songster. A tape duel with a pair of Otus did not result in any views. Good dinner of local food at the homestead.

We spent another three and a half days in the Lewa region, mostly in the same patch of forest but also visited a badly degraded area 7km on the Waingapu side of Lewa, to little avail: Sumba Green-Pigeon (possibly the most difficult bird to see – keep scanning dead snags), Red-naped Fruit-Dove (in fruiting trees), a single Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher (calls at dusk and in dark), Sumba Hornbill, Elegant Pitta (shy), Sumba Myzomela, Wallacean Cuckoo-shrike and Sumba Cuckoo-shrike. We spent hours at night owling, occasionally hearing the weird mechanical call of Sumba Boobook, but only managed a brief view of a Scops, high in the canopy. Simon returned early to Waingapu and was rewarded by Malaysian Plover (which I still need) on the mudflats. Barry and I came back after lunch and we boarded the Bima ferry at 15.45 (120K per ticket). It took nearly 5 hours to reach Sumbawa and was no good for sea-watching. Accommodation was unusually expensive in Bima, and we were dismayed to discover there were no flights or ferries to Flores.

Komodo: Nov 6-7

We took a bemo from Bima to the port of Sape where we hired a "fast" fishing boat with 2 engines to take us to Komodo and on to Labuan Bajo the next day, for 1,300K, later learning that 800K would have been a fair price. We did see Great Knot and Kentish/ Javan Plover on the mudflats while waiting and eventually departed at 11.00 for the promised 4 hour journey. The first 3 hours were pleasant, with some birds including 1000s of phalaropes, but then the sea became rougher and we were frequently doused in spray for the next 4 hours. The 3 man crew cadged food and water off us, having brought nothing themselves. We finally docked, with considerable relief, at 18.30 and had a good meal and beer at the resthouse.

The 3 hour guided walk in the dry forest next morning was most enjoyable, with no other tourists about: Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Green Junglefowl, Flame-breasted Sunbird and of course Komodo Dragons, were all easy to see. We left after breakfast and with only one noisy engine working, took 4h 30m to reach Labuan Bajo on Flores, in calm conditions fortunately – a large pod of dolphins was the highlight.

Flores: Nov 7- 12

Later in the afternoon we paid our first visit to Potawangka Road, after great difficulty in arranging a bemo to take us (for 100K) – only achieved by recruiting the help of an English-speaking girl in the Dive-shop.

Taped in the strange Flores Crow but saw little else of note. The following day we had 2 more sessions there, seeing Spectacled Monarch (which caused brief elation as we thought it might be female Flores Monarch), Thick-billed Dark-eye, Brown-capped Fantail and I had Russet-capped Tesia, but we could not see the calling White-rumped Kingfisher and Moluccan Scops-Owl.

Next we took an early bemo to Ruteng, via Puarldo telkom station which was very rewarding, thanks to Simon spotting an elusive male Flores Monarch, which took me some time and heart-ache to see.

We had to walk across a damaged bridge and catch a bemo, then bus, to complete the journey to Ruteng. In the afternoon, we tried to find a "beautiful forested ravine" near Pong Toda, according to Jepson (1997), but the directions were rather vague and the distance too great, so we failed to see anything much, despite a long walk. The next day's visit to Gunung Ranaka was more successful, with the remaining diurnal montane specialities, such as Flores Minivet and Bare-throated Whistler (a nightingale-like songster) in evidence. Afternoon at Lake Ranamese was a wash-out due to rain and low cloud, with more minivets the only birds of note, and no response to owl tapes. We had intended to return there the next morning but decided against it after a night of heavy rain, reasoning that visibility would again be poor and we would have a better chance of seeing our priority bird, White-rumped Kingfisher, back at the Potawangka Road site. So it was that late afternoon saw us there, just after the rain had stopped, and good views were obtained of 2 kingfishers, on opposite sides of the road, with a fly-by Wallace's Hanging-Parrot as a bonus. The owl did not cooperate though.

Next morning we took a boat around the bay (125K for 3 h) – few birds but a nice school of Bottlenose Dolphins and jumping Tuna. The mid-day flight to Bali was delayed, incredibly, and eventually left at 15.00, stopping at a wet Bima on the way. Still, there was just time for a swim with a beer at the Adhi Jaya Hotel…..

West Timor: Nov 13-17

I wrote a piece on this last part of the trip, for possible publication, so here it is, slightly amended:-

"Hello mister, are you Australian" is the immediate greeting of anyone who speaks any English in West Timor. "I'm British, is it true that Australians risk being shot in Timor, as their government says?" "Not any more" they smile. Well that's all right then, so much for the British, Australian and American government websites strongly advising against travel in West Timor. After all, it was 18 months since the United Nations pulled out of West Timor when some of their personnel were shot dead.

I had reluctantly decided to stick to the islands of Flores, Sumba and Komodo in the Lesser Sundas on my Indonesian birding trip, with Simon and Barry. However, after several Indonesians and a Dutchman who had recently visited West Timor told me it was now safe, I changed plans and flew to Kupang while Simon and Barry visited Bali Bharat National Park in search of the Bali Starling. The Merpati ("Get the feeling") flight arrived on time, unusually, at Kupang on 13th November. A 10 minute call to Merpati's office to reconfirm my return flight, spelling out my name several times, came to nothing when the girl eventually informed me the electricity was not working – "please do it for me when the computer is working", I cried in exasperation; "there's nothing wrong with the computer, ring again tomorrow" was her response.

I hired a taxi ($9) to take me to Camplong, a small town 46km east of Kupang, where I'd read there was good forest and a refuge run by nuns where you could stay. The heavens opened as we passed the new settlements populated by people who had fled from strife-torn East Timor. The refuge at Camplong was seething with youths and my request to stay was greeted with a flat refusal, probably just as well. The taxi driver had a friend who lived in Camplong but could not find him so said I would have to return to Kupang and commute daily to Camplong. I asked him to try again to find someone who would put me up. He came back with his uniformed friend and I was soon sheltering in his house, forcing down sardines and boiled rice. The family were very friendly and invited Susan, an English-speaking cousin, along to act as interpreter. I was surprised to learn she was 24, childless and unmarried – every other woman I had seen of that sort of age appeared to be holding at least one child in their arms.

As the rain eased I walked to the forest above the town. A loud Cetti's Warbler-type song came from a clump of bamboo and judicious use of the tape-recorder lured the endemic Buff-banded Bushbird into view – very long-tailed for a warbler, my first Timor endemic, and a bird in its own genus Buettikoferella! I was also hearing, but only just, a very high-pitched single note, and after a lengthy tape duel, had a brief view of another endemic warbler flitting between the bamboo clumps – the Timor Stubtail. I was able to get much better views of this species later, but was well pleased to have seen two of the biggest skulkers on Timor at such an early stage. Fawn-breasted Whistler and Plain Gerygone were added to the list and as the light faded, Orange-banded Thrushes and Elegant Pittas started singing, but seeing them was another matter.

The next day I spent the first two hours of daylight in the forest above Camplong, adding Plain Friarbird Timor Oriole and Streak-breasted Myzomela to my list of endemics. Twice I flushed a Columbid from the ground, the same bird, and can only think that it was the very rare Wetar Ground-Dove. I then risked my life on the back of a small motorbike for 20km - a most uncomfortable journey - to a vanishing remnant of lowland primary forest at Bipolo. The rest of the day here was fairly hard work in the sweltering heat but rewards were Olive-shouldered Parrot, Olive-headed Lorikeet, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Timor Blue Flycatcher, and at the only fruiting tree I could find, Black-backed Fruit-Doves and Timor Figbirds, but again I could not see the calling thrushes and pittas. The forest was badly degraded, although I only saw one person in it - a hunter with 2 noisy dogs and a gun. I hitched a lift back to the Camplong road in the back of a truck, and after a meal of dried fish and rice, Susan took me to watch a popular volleyball competition, which was taken very seriously by the participants.

The following morning I returned at dawn to Bipolo on the motorbike and found a hive of activity, with Red-chested Flowerpecker near the road, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove at the fruiting tree, and Orange-banded Thrush spotted at last singing in the canopy. A track beyond the forest led through cultivated land to fish-ponds, mangroves and paddyfields which held waders, terns and waterbirds – Royal Spoonbill was the only new bird but I did have a fly-by Timor Sparrow en route. After brunch at Camplong, I caught the bus the 64km to Soe in order to visit Oel Bubuk forest at higher elevation. This I did in the late afternoon and early morning, adding Dusky Cuckoo-Dove, Yellow-eared Honeyeater and a female Timor Bushchat to the list. I later discovered it would have been better to have gone to Oelnasi, near Soe, where the forest is more extensive and the gripping Black-banded Flycatcher, the bird I had hoped to see, is said to be common. With more time, I would have gone on to Gunung Mutis to look for Timor Imperial Pigeon, Iris Lorikeet and Sunda Thrush, and further visits to Bipolo might have yielded the missing Slaty Cuckoo-Dove, Timor Green-Pigeon or Pink-headed Imperial-Pigeon.

Back at the Camplong forest, late afternoon, I had a major success with good views of Black-banded Flycatcher and Timor Stubtail in an open area dominated by clumps of bamboo, then a brief sighting of Tricoloured Parrotfinch. Returning there early the following morning, I failed to see any of these birds but did have a singing male Timor Bushchat, a bird I dearly wanted to see. It was time to leave my friendly hosts and catch the bus back to Kupang. I was able to visit the mudflats near the airport before checking in for my noon flight to Bali, and find a few waders including a pair of Red-capped Plover, a rarity in Indonesia. I had seen a lot of good birds and encountered nothing but friendliness in my four days on the infamous West Timor, an outpost of Indonesia that I would recommend any adventurous soul to visit now.

SITES

Most of the sites, with the notable exception of Gng Ambang, are detailed in Jepson and Ounsted and on the Oriental Bird Club website. The former is good for the Lesser Sundas, but not the Sulawesi region which is well-covered by the latter. Hence I will only mention recent changes or key features which may not be well described.

SULAWESI

The "standard" tour is Dumoga Bone, Tangkoko and Lore Lindu, as featured in many trip reports. We added Gunung Ambang, at the recommendation of Kris Tindige and Dave Sargeant, and I would certainly endorse this at present, although its days are clearly numbered. See Appendix A for my views on the best sites for the more difficult species.

Dumoga Bone National Park

[The full name is Dumoga Bone Bogani Nani Wartabone, too hard to remember.]

Stay at Toraut, about an hour from Kotamobagu, itself a three hour car drive from Manado, and concentrate on trails across the river (pray that it doesn't rain too hard as you have to wade across now). Bare-faced Rail was seen by Filip Verbelen in an almost dry gully and we saw the undescribed Muscicapa and Rufous-throated Flycatcher in this area. Go early one morning to Tambun, the Maleo breeding ground, and after seeing the Maleo go up onto the ridge trail. In the evening Sulawesi Owl, Ochre-bellied Hawk-Owl and Sul Scops-Owl call around the resthouse, but seeing the former 2 can be a frustrating challenge.

Note that violence has been reported in the Dumoga Valley en route to Toraut but we had no problems.

Tangkoko N.R.

Only two hours drive from Manado, this was the only site which was protected; use of guides (get Freddy at any price) and entrance fee compulsory. Stay in Batuputih village, just outside the reserve, Mama Roos recommended. Good for lowland forest species and worth spending at least three days, preferably taking the trail to the top of the mountain – can be done in a day but a night camping is better – in order to try for Scaly Kingfisher, owls and Sulawesi Blue-Flycatcher at the top. Morning boat trip to Lende Island for Black-billed Kingfisher (if missed at Dumoga Bone) and seabirds.

Gunung Ambang

See details in OBC Bulletin 32 and on the Oriental Bird Club web site. Yulius, a ranger, lives at Singsingon and is said to be very knowledgeable about the birds, and his wife will cook for birders, but unless you can find him, don't bother with the Singsingon side of the mountain – even though it's the route recommended by the OBC - it was suffering very badly from illegal logging when we were there (in this so-called nature reserve). Better to approach from Bongkudai Baru - walk through farmland to the forest and take the the second steep trail on the right – there was good primary forest at 1500-1600m, holding Matinan Flycatcher (poor illustration in the book, it's a squat, dumpy bird), the cracking Red-eared Fruit-Dove and Malia (a different form from the one at Lore Lindu, with olive green wings, not chestnut - a potential split), with Scaly Kingfisher and Cinnabar Owl possible, especially if you camp on site. There are hotels at Kotamobagu. Worth at least 2 days.

Lore Lindu N.P.

This is the finest readily accessible birding site on Sulawesi but is being badly and rapidly degraded by settlers, loggers and rattan-collectors. A public road goes through it and much of the forest near the road is being destroyed. There are good facilities within the NP at Kamarora, the lowest area but it is the worst affected and hardly worth staying at now, though a good site for Isabelline Bush-hen and Speckled Hawk-Owl has been seen here. We did the official thing and bought permits from the PHPA office in Palu, but this is probably only necessary if you want to stay at Kamarora.

Farther along the main road, 200-300m higher, is Dongi-Dongi which used to be another popular birding area. Stopping to bird along here is now inadvisable due to aggro with the settlers, but further on, just below the turn off to the highlands of Anaso, was settler-free in Oct 2001 (but probably not for long). This is where Sulawesi Woodcock and Piping Crow can be seen.

The track to Anaso is the most important area, and so you should plan to spend at least 2 or 3 days here, the longer the better. Camping is the easiest – at one of the two clearings where there are weather stations (we used the first one) - although commuting from Kamarora or Wuasa on the far side of the park is feasible. Lake Tambing, near the Anaso turn, should be worth a visit – Roy had Snoring/ Platen's Rail here – but the understorey had been wrecked by rattan-collectors when we were there. Roy favours staying at Wuasa, a comparable distance to Kamarora with less-disturbed forest nearby.

Good birds can be found all along the Anaso track, key species being:-

Small Sparrowhawk: anywhere

Sulawesi Woodcock: lower track or over bridge on main road near big rock a few km before the Anaso turn.

Red-eared Fruit-Dove: highest moss forest

Grey-headed Imperial-Pigeon: campsite

Sombre Pigeon: campsite and below

Sulawesi Hawk-Cuckoo: mainly below Anaso track but rarely heard by us

Diabolical Nightjar: at and above campsite and at Woodcock site on main road

Purple-bearded Bee-eater: gullies below campsite

Pygmy Cuckoo-shrike: campsite

Geomalia: c.1km above campsite; Roy found nesting pair just above start of track.

Sulawesi Thrush: below campsite

Great Shortwing: anywhere

Blue-fronted Flycatcher: below campsite

Sulawesi Blue-Flycatcher: main road above Woodcock site

Olive-flanked Whistler: above campsite

Maroon-backed Whistler: both above and below campsite

Malia: below and at campsite

Sulawesi Myzomela: above campsite

Dark-eared Honeyeater: mainly below and at campsite

Greater Streaked Honeyeater: above campsite

Piping Crow: Woodcock area

Mountain Serin: at and above campsite

Cinnabar Hawk-Owl and Scaly Kingfisher have been seen at least once in recent years.

Forest near Ujang Pandang, now called Makassar, holds the endemic Black-ringed White-eye, eg at Bantimurung NR - only 30 mins from the airport - but our quick visit was almost bird-less, probably due to the heat of the day. Since learnt it would have been better to have continued past the huge ape archway entrance to Bantimurung for a further few km to Karaenta Forest (signed) where there are a few trails off the road on the right.

SANGIHE & TALAUD

See details in OBC Bulletin 29 and on the Oriental Bird Club web site.

For the latest situation contact Yayasan Sampiri, a local NGO but be aware that e-mail: sampiri[at]usa.net is often down; Yayasan Sampiri, P.O. Box 176, Tahuna 95800, Tel/Fax: 062 0432 21767.

Midway between Sulawesi and the Philippines, Sangihe holds 6 endemics and Talaud 4. Cerulean Paradise-Flycatcher, believed extinct until rediscovered in 1998, is the star bird – now thought to number a max of 19 pairs. Sangihe Shrike-thrush, only recently described as new species, may be equally rare. Five of the Sangihe species can be seen in a few days (unless it rains too much) – the White-eye has only been seen 3 times in the years Action Sampiri has been active. The rare Golden Bulbul, widespread in the Moluccas, could be a split as it is said to be bigger and yellower than other forms, and the common drongo is a bit of an enigma – it could be a race of either Spangled or Wallacean Drongo or even a new species. Talaud Kingfisher and Red-and-blue Lory can be seen easily on Talaud but the newly described rail and bush-hen are unlikely to be encountered.

Crowded overnight PELNI ferries to Tahuna leave Manado every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6pm, taking 12 hours, and there is a faster, more expensive catamaran ($15 one-way) that leaves in the morning and takes 7-8 hours. Flights resumed in 2001 but on Mondays only, continuing to Talaud, so it would be possible to fly there and catch the ferry back to Sangihe – twice a week I think, taking c.10? hours.

On Sangihe the key site is Mt Sahendaruman in the south, above Tamako village, where all the endemics occur, along with possibly a new Strix owl. Go there with Action Sampiri or Wesley from Rainbow losmen at Lilipan B. Camp on the lower ridge, and descend into a steep gully to wait for the flycatcher in remnant tall trees (which is probably where the owl resides) where Elegant Imperial-Pigeons occur. Climb to the ridge on the mountain top to search for the Shrike-thrush and Golden Bulbul along a good trail through mossy forest. The Hanging-Parrot and Scops-Owl are widely distributed and occur near Rainbow losmen, but the former seems very thin on the ground and we only saw the latter above Talawig in the north (where the endemic forms of Lilac Kingfisher and Hooded Pitta, Great-billed Parrot and Pied Imperial-Pigeon occur).

BANGGAI

Difficult to reach but these islands, with the Sulus, hold 6 endemics:

Sula Scrubfowl, Megapodius bernsteinii

Sula Hanging-Parrot, Loriculus sclateri

Sula Pitta, Pitta dohertyi

Slaty Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina schistacea

Henna-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher, Rhinomyias colonus

Helmeted Myna, Basilornis galeatus

and some species characteristic of the Moluccas, eg Moluccan Scops-Owl and Starling. There are ferries from Luwuk, the stop on the Manado-Palu flight, which can also be reached by bus from Palu or Makassar (overnight).

The islands were hit by a massive earthquake and some inter-ethnic violence in 2000 but there were apparently no reports of trouble in 2001. Freddy spent 4-5 days here but saw only 1 Sula Pitta.

SUMBA

With the possibility of 13 species unlikely to be seen elsewhere, at only two sites, Sumba is well worth a visit; if you are a hornbillophile it is essential as Sumba Hornbill is endemic. In addition there are 2 convenient spots for waders where both Malaysian and Oriental Plovers are possible.

The problem is travel to and from Sumba as both flights and ferries are infrequent, except the latter to Sumbawa. We flew from Bali to Waingapu on Sumba, and then took the ferry to Sumbawa in order to reach Komodo and Flores in less than a week. It was impossible to fly to Flores, even via Bali, except by over-nighting in Kupang, West Timor, which we were unhappy to do as we had yet to meet anyone who had been there. In retrospect I would have done this and birded Timor on the way, as the ensuing ferries were unpleasant experiences.

A lengthy walk on the mudflats at Waingapu was good for waders, especially for Simon who spent longer there and saw Malaysian Plover, Great Knot and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Yumbu, detailed in Jepson and Ounsted, is the site for Sumba Buttonquail and Five-coloured Munia, and easily reached by taxi – the best area is on the seaward side just before the bridge over the river. We scored first morning, helped by a local guide, and continued to Kadumbal Marsh, an excellent area for waders and waterbirds, highlights being a record flock of Oriental Pratincoles and 2 Oriental Plover.

The key site is Langgiluru National Park, just beyond the small town of Lewa. National Park is rather a grandiose name for a largely deforested area, but the patch of remnant primary forest bisected by the main road holds all the remaining specialities. In 4 days here, mainly up a trail on the left side going away from Lewa, starting at a sharp right hand bend with a crash barrier on the left, we saw Sumba Green-Pigeon, Red-naped Fruit-Dove, Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Sumba Hornbill, Elegant Pitta, Sumba Myzomela, Wallacean Drongo, White-shouldered Triller, Wallacean and Sumba Cuckoo-shrikes, Chestnut-backed Thrush, Sumba Brown and Sumba Flycatchers, Flores Jungle-Flycatcher (could be split as Sumba J-F), Ashy-bellied and Yellow-spectacled White-eyes, Black-fronted Flowerpecker and Apricot-breasted Sunbird. We heard the weird song of Sumba Boobook and duetting "Sumba" Scops-Owls, an undescribed otus, but only had a glimpse of the otus.

Climbing out of Lewa on the way to the NP is Waikabubak road. Just before the tele-communications mast is a view-point into a valley on the left. This is a good location to watch for Great-billed Parrot and Sumba Hornbill.

KOMODO

Essential to visit for the impressive dragons – we saw 6, touching 2 - with guaranteed Yellow-crested Cockatoo and Green Junglefowl, difficult elsewhere. The nearby island of Rinca may be the best bet for Flores Green-Pigeon. There are no flights so you must charter a boat from Labuan Bajo, Flores, or Sape, Sumbawa, the former being distinctly preferable – cheaper and quicker. It can be done as an early morning excursion, although I would recommend staying the night – there is decent food and lodging at the NP HQ. We went from Sumbawa, as we could not get a flight to Labuan Bajo, so it was the most time-efficient routing to Flores, but were ripped off/held to ransom by the boat owner and then had to wait hours for the tide to rise. Despite much time at sea, we saw few birds of note except for 1000s of Red-necked Phalarope, a flock of Streaked Shearwater and single Wilson's Storm-Petrel and Great-billed Heron.

FLORES

More good birds but another sad story of gross deforestation, at least at the west end where birders have concentrated their efforts. Labuan Bajo is quite a pleasant small town, though no night-life; excellent food at Nirwana restaurant, eg sizzling barracuda fillet, stir-fried veg and chips for £1! We hired taxis to Potawangka Road and found the best area was around an obvious track at a clearing on the right, some 3-4 km after leaving the main Ruteng road: a single Wallace's Hanging-Parrot, White-rumped Kingfisher,

Flores Crow, Flores White-eye/ Thick-billed Dark-eye and Brown-capped Fantail were all seen here and Moluccan Scops-Owl called briefly. [Names of the white-eyes on Flores are a nightmare, with all 3 species having markedly different names in Coates and Bishop compared to Clements.] In 1999 David Bishop found the area beyond the village of Potawangka to have some undisturbed forest where White-rumped Kingfisher was common, but we could not drive as far as the village as the road was too bad, and we saw no accessible forest when walking near there. He found 2 pairs of Flores Monarch and several Hanging-Parrots in the degraded forest but I suspect they are much scarcer now as a lot more trees have gone.

The other essential place to go is to Ruteng, where the forest seems better preserved. Although reachable by regular bemos, they do not start very early, so it is better to take an early taxi for the first 33km to stop at Puarldo telkom station, the best site for the rare Flores Monarch, which we saw in the good forest behind the station, along with Russet-capped Tesia, Timor Leaf-Warbler, White-browed White-eye/ Yellow-browed Dark-eye and Dark-crowned White-eye/ Crested Dark-eye. At Ruteng there are 2 good sites: -

Gunung Ranaka, for Bare-throated Whistler, Flores Minivet, Flores Jungle-Flycatcher, Wallacean Cuckoo-shrike, Sunda/ Scaly-crowned Honeyeater, Golden-rumped Flowerpecker and Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch;

Lake Ranamese where Flores Scops-Owl occurs (but only 1 sighting by a team there in July-Sept 97) and doubtless other notable species, eg Moluccan Hawk-Owl, but this was the one site where we were rained off.

Several other good and attractive sites are described by Jepson and Ounsted but travel is time-consuming on Flores, as it is a long island with poor roads and few flights. Kisol is probably worth a visit, with a chance of Wallace's Scops-Owl and the rare Flores Green Pigeon. The latter was seen around the village of Woloara, near Moni on the eastern slope of Kelimutu volcano in Sept 2001.

WEST TIMOR

See my article at the end off the Tour Diary section. The hill forest at Camplong and near Soe seems fairly intact but the lowland forest at Bipolo is in dire straights. Perhaps there are other lowland sites, but if not, it is a great shame that no effort has apparently been made to save what is left at Bipolo. It may be too late now.

ADVISORY NOTE: Moluccas in 2001: Halmahera / Ternate / Seram / Buru

"I wouldn't go. Please bear in mind that Ambon, the transport hub for the Moluccas, has been likened to Beirut. No two-storey buildings have been left standing and people have even been shot whilst passengers on ferries docked in Ambon. Even late last year PELNI ships regularly refused to visit Ambon because of violence.

Halamahera/Ternate are not Ambon but almost the entire Christian population of some parts of the island has fled. Whilst the situation is no doubt calmer than it was last year it will not be easy to move around the islands without attracting attention."

Spectacled Monarch

APPENDIX A: BEST SITES FOR DIFFICULT ENDEMICS IN SULAWESI REGION

* should see, ** 50/50, *** how lucky can you get!

**Small Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nanus Anaso, LL

*Maleo, Macrocephalon maleo Dumoga Bone

***Platen's Rail, Aramidopsis plateni Lake Tambing, LL

***Bare-faced Rail, Gymnocrex rosenbergii Dumoga Bone

*Isabelline Bush-hen, Amaurornis isabellinus Kamarora, LL

**Sulawesi Woodcock, Scolopax celebensis below Anaso

**Sulawesi Ground-Dove, Gallicolumba tristigmata Ambang

*Red-eared Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus fischeri Anaso and Ambang

***Sombre Pigeon, Cryptophaps poecilorrhoa Anaso

*Red-and-blue Lory, Eos histrio Talaud

*Yellowish-breasted Racquet-tail, Prioniturus flavicans Dumoga Bone

*Sangihe Hanging-Parrot, Loriculus catamene Talawig

*Pygmy Hanging-Parrot, Loriculus exilis Dumoga Bone, Tangkoko mt.

***Sulawesi Hawk-Cuckoo, Cuculus crassirostris below Anaso

**Minahassa Owl, Tyto inexspectata Tangkoko

*Sulawesi Owl, Tyto rosenbergii Dumoga Bone

*Sangihe Scops-Owl, Otus collari Talawig

**Ochre-bellied Hawk-Owl, Ninox ochracea Dumoga Bone

***Cinnabar Hawk-Owl, Ninox ios Ambang

**Speckled Hawk-Owl, Ninox punctulata Ambang, Dumoga Bone

*Diabolical Nightjar, Eurostopodus diabolicus Anaso

*Sulawesi Nightjar, Caprimulgus celebensis Tangkoko

*Sulawesi Kingfisher, Ceyx fallax Dumoga Bone

*Lilac Kingfisher, Cittura cyanotis Tangkoko

*Black-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis melanorhyncha Lende Island (Tangkoko)

*Talaud Kingfisher, Todirhamphus enigma Talaud

*Green-backed Kingfisher, Actenoides monachus Tangkoko

**Scaly Kingfisher, Actenoides princeps Tangkoko

*Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Meropogon forsteni Anaso

*Sulawesi Hornbill, Penelopides exarhatus Dumoga Bone, Tangkoko

*Pied Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina bicolour Tangkoko

*Cerulean Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina temminckii Dumoga Bone, Ambang

*White-rumped Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina leucopygia Tangkoko

*Pygmy Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina abbotti Anaso

***Geomalia, Geomalia heinrichi Anaso

**Rusty-backed Thrush, Zoothera erythronota Tangkoko

**Sulawesi Thrush, Cataponera turdoides Anaso

*Great Shortwing, Heinrichia calligyna Anaso

**Flycatcher, Muscicapa sp.nov. Dumoga Bone

**Rufous-throated Flycatcher, Ficedula rufigula Dumoga Bone

*Matinan Flycatcher, Cyornis sanfordi Ambang

*Blue-fronted Flycatcher, Cyornis hoevelli Anaso

*Sulawesi Blue-Flycatcher, Cyornis omissus Anaso

*Cerulean Paradise-Flycatcher, Eutrichomyias rowleyi Mt Sahendaruman

*Olive-flanked Whistler, Hylocitrea bonensis Anaso

**Maroon-backed Whistler, Coracornis raveni Anaso

**Sangihe Shrike-Thrush, Colluricincla sanghirensis Mt Sahendaruman

*Malia, Malia grata Anaso and Ambang

*Black-ringed White-eye, Zosterops anomalus Karaenta Forest, Ujang Pandang

*Piping Crow, Corvus typicus below Anaso

*Pale-headed Munia, Lonchura pallida Palu

*Mountain Serin, Serinus estherae Anaso

Rusty-flanked Fantail

Rusty-flanked Fantail

LIST OF SPECIES - the full list is given in Appendix B.

The Komodo column includes birds seen on Sumbawa and during the sea crossing.

There are many differences in names between Clements and Coates & Bishop. I have used Clements followed by the Coates & Bishop name where different.

KEY

Italics and {} = not seen by JH

[ ] = identity uncertain

Yellow-crested Cockatoo

Yellow-crested Cockatoo

Spectral Tarsier

Spectral Tarsier

Diabolical Nightjar Eurostopodus diabolicus

Diabolical Nightjar Eurostopodus diabolicus


Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall